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Vodacom Blue BullsVodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar welcomes back a fit-again Francois Venter to his midfield ahead of their Absa Currie Cup clash against Toyota Free State Cheetahs and will give Jacques Engelbrecht a first start in the blue jersey.

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Venter replaces Ulrich Beyers, who move to the bench while Engelbrecht swops places with Jacques du Plessis in a team that shows three changes to the starting line-up.

Injured Mornè Mellett is replaced by Marcel van der Merwe, who will face the team he played for last year for the first time.

Veteran wing Akona Ndungane will play in his 50th Absa Currie Cup match for the Vodacom Blue Bulls.

“We cannot afford any slip-ups or soft moments any more if we want to stay in contention for the Currie Cup,” Pienaar said on Wednesday.

“We have shown signs of progress, but too often we allowed our opponents to force their game plan on us. Against the Cheetahs we need to be focused on playing the game our style and at our tempo.”

The Vodacom Blue Bulls team is:

15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Akona Ndungane, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Jono Ross (Captain), 7 Jacques Engelbrecht, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg,5  Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Marcel van der Merwe.

Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Jacques du Plessis, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Ulrich Beyers, 22 Clayton Blommetjies/Tiaan Schoeman

7 Responses to Currie Cup: Engelbrecht gets first start for Blue Bulls and Venter’s back in the centre

  • 1

    Good that Jacques get a starting berth, he is a class player

  • 2

    2 @ Gena_ZA:
    Hello Gena, yes he certainly seems to be highly rated so hope he has a big game for us. Also good to see the other Jacques (du Plessis) is being rested a bit (albeit still in the match day squad) – he only turned 20 last month and has had quite a lot of rugby lately with all the Currie Cup game and then being very prominent at the Junior World Cup so think his body can do with a bit of a break.

  • 3

    Hey the Bullscot,

    Agree with but was wondering if young Jacques would not be a better no 4 lock in the long run, he has the length and the weight and is still growing, just afraid he will become to heavy for a loosie. Grant Hattingh to slender in my opinion to be really effective and Paul Willemse young enough to make the switch.
    8th man is also a option but not at the Bulls with Spies and Botha already two top class players and both Boks.

  • 4

    @ Gena_ZA:
    Agree there Gena been advocating a move to lock for him in long term as you say he has the size and may grow a bit more but I think no 5 lock would be better, really struggling with the mobile here so will elaborate more on your post later.

  • 5

    Engelbrecht deserved this start. He was terrific when he came on last week. Also said Bulls should start him at blindside flank and drop Du Plessis to the bench or move Du Plessis to cover lock.

    Really rate Engelbrecht he is much like a Alberts both big and strong ball carriers.

    I know Bulls have lost a few games so far, but this is a good Bulls side and they will come right.

  • 6

    3 @ Gena_ZA:
    Finally getting round to reply Gena, as I said earlier have thought from the time started hearing about du Plessis at the World Cup that maybe he could be better suited to lock. Normally if flanks move to the second row it is at no 4 ala Alberts but in du Plessis’ case I think he must have athletic skills and quite mobile playing on the flank and is tall enough to make it at number 5. Some tuition on lineout calling and jumping and fielding the restarts from Master Matfield would do him the world of good. Plus loose forwards come a dime a dozen in South Africa so in time he may be more valuable if he turns into a second rower.
    Not really seen Hattingh play so can’t debate too much other than he seems to be mentioned fairly often by fans as they perceive to not be good enough, but then after some games I have read that he has played very well, so not sure how good he really is. Maybe he is one of those players that just has to walk on water every time he plays for him to be approved. That is an odd phenomena that some players get into the category and have to perform so well each game otherwise they are not seen as good enough by many ‘fans’ and their mistakes and perceived weaknesses are highlighted. Another player in this category for me is Hattingh’s team mate Akona Ndungane, so often I read posts on the net saying he is too old, too slow etc, and then come game time he plays really well and silences the doomsayers…for a bit. Over here I feel its the same for Scotland’s Greig Laidlaw.

  • 7

    Thanks for your good reply, also pretty busy these days, just the odd moment when I can pop in.
    I would like us to breed new age locks, like with Eben, they should be able to play 4 and 5, or interchange in a game where needed, he fits the profile to play both.


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